Calif. rep's father sentenced to prison for election fraud

Babulal Bera, the father of Rep. Ami BeraAmerish (Ami) Babulal BeraDem, GOP groups prepare spending blitz for midterms Bipartisan group of lawmakers seeks rules changes under next Speaker By reversing course on Ebola funding, Trump brings compromise MORE (D-Calif.), was sentenced on Thursday to a year and one day in prison for managing a money-laundering operation to fund two of his son’s House campaigns.

Bera pleaded guilty to convincing friends and family members to contribute maximum donations to his son’s 2010 and 2012 campaigns and then personally reimbursing them, thereby skirting federal limits on individual contributions. Prosecutors found at least $260,000 in illegal contributions that came from Bera and were funneled through the donors.

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Bera, 83, was also fined $100,000. His attorneys had pushed for a sentence of probation and a fine instead of prison time due to his age and the effect going to jail would have on his wife.

The maximum prison sentence for each of Bera's two felony counts is five years.

Ami Bera has denied knowing about his father’s actions. 

"This is one of the most difficult moments my family has ever experienced. My dad is 83 years old and my mom is 82, and Janine and I are worried about both of my parents. Of course I’m absolutely devastated and heartbroken for how today’s decision will impact our entire family. But my father’s accepted what he did was wrong, he’s taken responsibility, and I love him more than words can express," Bera said in a statement Thursday, according to a local CBS affiliate.

Bera is in a competitive reelection race this year against Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones, though nonpartisan political prognosticators still rate it as leaning Democratic.

Jones has sought to tie Bera to the case.

Earlier this week, Jones proposed campaign finance reforms clearly aimed at Bera that would require candidates to disclose if donors are relatives, report donations more frequently and make a "best effort" to ensure that donors who contribute maximum amounts for the first time understand campaign finance laws.